McGonagall watched him for three days, not wanting to believe it, unable to face the facts.
She watched Lily and James' precious son walk carefully down a street, cane stretched out in front of him, always escorted by his uncle or cousin to and from the muggle vehicles.
She watched him wait for doors to open for him, watched him coached on what food to be eaten at public restaurants, watched as muggles catered to his disability with the comfort of long familiarity.
He was smart, attending a school with peers twice his age, but his mind could never make up for his lack of sight.
Harry Potter could not wield a wand at a target he could not see. Harry Potter could not read spell tomes or take notes from a professor.
There were no wizarding books in braille. There were no blind wizarding children taught at Hogwarts. What few practicing magicals who were blind were not so from youth, but only lost their sight in their old age or in accidents later in life.
Maybe, with careful tutoring, he could be taught a few limited spells. Maybe he could prepare a pre-cut potion, or work with his hands in herbology. But the magical world was too dangerous for him to ever be alone.
He was Harry Potter. He was famous. The wizarding world would not know what to do with a blind savior.
What minions of the Dark Lord remained would find him easy pickings.
"It's for his own good." Albus Dumbledore said softly, when she relayed her findings. "He can not come to Hogwarts. Perhaps it is best that he simply disappear into the muggle world."
"There will be questions." Minerva said softly, and the venerable Headmaster sighed.
"Let it be known he is receiving private tutoring."
And in his mind, the Headmaster considered that the young Longbottom boy also fit the parameters of the prophecy.
He could have been mistaken all along.
And as easily as that, the problem of Harry Potter was pushed aside.
Petunia felt her heart break when she read the letter.
As much as she would have wished to keep her nephew with her, she had also known how much being denied would crush him.
But she told Harry anyway, that his world would not take him as she had always warned, and he only smiled.
He knew something they did not; magic had him in its grasp whether he was blind or not, and he would learn to use it one way or another.
Time passed; days, weeks, months. Harry Potter became a name known in muggle scholarly circles in Britain, a rising star, a genius child, the pride of the Her Majesty's Gifted Children Program.
And in the magical world, fate worked its delicate plans.
"How could you let this happen to my daughter?!"
The muggle man roared in distraught pain, standing over his child's hospital bed.
"Mr. Granger, this accident..." Professor McGonagall began.
"You told me the school was safe!" The man interrupted her, waving a fist.
"Calm down, sir, you might wake her." Madam Pomfrey gently broke in, and with a grimace the man lowered his voice and continued to rant in harsh whispers to his daughter's Head of House.
"We were told this was the best institute for magic. I had my doubts, but you, you professor, convinced us. Now, we get a letter saying our daughter is in your kind's hospital? This, St. Mungos? Because a troll bashed in her head, broke her bones? And she might never recover fully? My daughter?! Where were you, when this troll was roaming your school!"
"Ms. Granger left the Halloween Feast of her own accord…"
"To go to the bathroom!" Mr. Granger burst in, shaking his head. "Can one of your students not visit the facilities without danger?"
"No." He said firmly, and looked down at his pale little girl, her mother's curly brown hair limp around her face. "No more of your apologies. If… when, my daughter wakes up, she won't be returning to your school. She had scholarship opportunities to the best schools in Britain. She can learn magic if she still wants to by tutor, safe at home with her mother and me."
Professor McGonagall stuttered and pleaded, but all of her words fell on deaf ears.
Mr. Granger would not let his child out of his sight again for a very long time.
In January, while her peers at Hogwarts returned for a term that would be fraught with drama, Hermione Granger entered muggle school once more.
It had taken a month for her to wake from the magical coma meant to heal her mind.
Magic could easily mend broken bones and skin; the spirit was another matter, and the mind a mystery never solved.
She could not speak well; and when she did it was slow and slurred, as well as in broken syllables.
For another month her parents doted on her at home as she was visited by a speech therapist, coaching her how to speak again, though written words came as easily to her gifted mind as ever.
And when Hermione grew tired of the constant pandering, tired of her parents worried eyes and pitying gestures, she insisted she was ready to return to school.
And in London, on her first day of school, she heard a name mentioned with longing, a name very familiar to her from her magical studies.
What were the chances that the blind darling of her new London school was also the wizarding celebrity?
It wasn't possible, of course. Not at all. The-Boy-Who-Lived wasn't blind, he was being trained in secret by aurors and the Ministry.
But Hermione watched him in fascination anyway, too shy to speak in her new halting way to a boy who seemed to know more than even she did, too nervous to offer help to him when he navigated the hallways with careful steps.
And when she sat close to him in the cafeteria, watching his focused face on some paper or another, fingers caressing a page of braille, she found herself becoming fascinated with the boy.
From a distance, of course, because the Hermione Granger she was now was not the same girl of four months ago. She did not offer help to her peers, though they would be more receptive to it than the students at Hogwarts ever were; she couldn't speak well enough to give answers in class when a teacher asked. Crowds made her nervous; bathrooms, even of the muggle variety, were nightmarish rooms of pain and darkness.
Harry saw something different in January.
Blue-violet light, like spiraling electric lightning across a stormy sky. A form, shorter than himself, darting in and out of the corners of his vision.
Watching him. Burning brighter than any other person in the London school. Burning with something no one other than himself had.
Magic. The bearer of the blue-violet light was magic, somehow.
She or he, Harry could not tell, shadowed his movements. In his mind, he fondly began to call the vision Violaceus for the unique vibrant hue of its magic and life. He found the Latin for the blue shade of purple described it aptly, and imagined it was a girl who was much like himself, damaged in some way, kicked out of the magical world for some fault that made her less than perfect.
Viola shared no classes with him. She passed him in the halls with quick steps, the tread of a nervous personality. She sat within sight of him during the lunch meal, her light questing from her with timid jerks, like a cat testing a puddle of water to see that it was, in fact, wet.
He was not fast enough to catch her. The blind, even those who saw light, found it hard to run.
So he began to think of ways to draw her to him, when he could ask no one her name, could not point her out from a crowd. A blind boy searching through endless color for one single, fascinating hue.
At Hogwarts, Neville Longbottom and Ron Weasley became friends of an awkward sort. Seeing the aftermath of what happened to Hermione Granger changed them; changed all the Gryffindors, but none more than the two boys who reluctantly went searching too late for the girl who had been so hurt by their callous words.
Neville had wanted to go earlier; Ron had not. One felt guilty for not being stronger; the other, for being so weak.
The two knew why the know-it-all had been in the bathroom. Their shame bound them tighter than friendship.
After winter break, they began to find reasons to study together, reasons to help their peers. Following signals nearly too vague to understand, they began to search for some way to find forgiveness in themselves.
Some way to make up for what they had done.
And from the clues they were given they found out about the Philosopher's Stone and where it was hidden. They saved a dragon together. They followed Snape under an invisibility cloak Neville had been given from a mysterious benefactor.
Seamus and Dean were brought into the fold, tagging along with their suspicions, the four Gryffindor boys thinking of themselves as the Saviors of Hogwarts.
And when Dumbledore left, when Professor Snape disappeared, when their Head of House wouldn't listen, they did what they had to do.
They followed the clues left so carefully for them, and went to save the Stone themselves.
Neville defeated the Devil's Snare. Ron caught a key and solved a chess board. Dean and Seamus both worked through the riddle with laborious effort.
And Neville, the only one uninjured from the chess match, marched through the fire with the first explosion of courage he had ever felt in his life.
Dumbledore was pleased.
His ploy had worked. Mr. Longbottom showed true promise, and had made friends with his peers, good boys all of them, Gryffindor lions through and through.
The Stone was destroyed, and Neville Longbottom thought that he and his friends had saved it from falling into darkness, and that maybe Neville himself was somehow important enough to defeat a dark lord.
Seeds, carefully planted, needing only time to grow strong.
Albus Dumbledore would make the savior his world needed.
Hermione had three focuses in her life as the months passed and summer approached.
Her muggle studies at school, advanced material that finally challenged her the way she had always wanted.
Her magical studies, assignments by owl, practical evaluation once a week by Mrs. Hiddlesticks, a retired Mistress of Charms and Transfiguration.
And Harry Potter, the smartest boy in the school. Sometimes, she almost thought he was looking for her, his amazing green eyes locking upon her face for a second as she passed, his head turning at odd moments when she approached.
Always, she nervously looked away and fled, unsure why she even bothered.
He couldn't see her, not really. He was blind, everyone said so, and it was easy enough to see for herself in the way he walked, the way he read, the way he needed help picking out his food in the cafeteria.
But Hermione couldn't take the chance.
She much preferred watching from afar and trying to solve the mystery he presented.
When term broke for the summer, Harry left school with a feeling of frustration, silent on the entire drive home.
He hadn't even spoken a word to Viola, the light avoiding him at every turn.
Once, he tried to call for her; but what to say?
Hey, you there, with the pretty lights, girl? Boy? Young, old?
Hey, you, stop.
Let me talk to you.
But it hadn't happened, and Harry found himself strangely reluctant to enlist the help of any of his acquaintances at school. What would they think? How could he possibly explain?
He could only hope the light would still be at school the when term resumed. He hated a puzzle left unsolved.